Yehuda Amichai: “The True Hero of the Aqedah”



The true hero of the aqedah was the ram
who did not know of the conniving of the others.
It is as if he volunteered to die in Isaac’s place.
I want to sing a tribute to his memory,
to his curly wool and his human eyes,
to the horns that were so quiet on his lovely head
and after the slaughter were made into trumpets
to sound for their wars
or for the blasts of their vulgar joy.

I want to remember the last picture
like a nice photograph in an elegant fashion magazine:
the spoilt tanned lad in his dandified clothes
and beside him the angel dressed in a log silk gown
for a festive reception,
both with empty eyes
staring at the empty places.

Behind them, as a colorful background, the ram
caught in the thicket before the slaughter.
And the thicket is his last friend.

The angel went home.
Isaac went home.
Abraham and God left a long time ago.

But the true hero of the aqedah
is the ram.

Yehuda Amichai

Translation by Tova Forti.

Photo: Floor mosaic at the Beit Alfa Synagogue by Garo Nalbandian.

~ by matt on 7 January 2009.

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.


Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

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